Russia Launches Advanced Glonass K Satellite

A Soyuz-2 rocket launches a Glonass K navigation satellite from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on Oct. 25, 2020. (Credit: Russian Ministry of Defense)

PLESETSK COSMODROME, Russia (Roscosmos PR) — On Sunday, October 25, 2020, at 22:08 Moscow time from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk region, the combat crew of the Space Forces of the Aerospace Forces launched the Soyuz-2 carrier rocket developed by the Progress RCC (part of the Roscosmos State Corporation) with a new generation spacecraft of the GLONASS system. The launch of the carrier rocket and the insertion of the spacecraft into the calculated orbit took place in the normal mode.

Two minutes after the launch, the Soyuz-2 booster was taken for escort by means of the ground-based automated control complex of the German Titov Main Testing Space Center. At the estimated time, the “Glonass-K” spacecraft was launched into the target orbit by the “Fregat” upper stage manufactured by NPO Lavochkin (part of the State Corporation “Roscosmos”) and taken over to control ground assets of the Space Forces of the Aerospace Forces. A stable telemetric connection has been established and maintained with the satellite. The onboard systems of the Glonass-K spacecraft are operating normally.

The spacecraft launched into orbit, created by the “Information Satellite Systems” company named after academician M.F. Reshetnev “(included in the perimeter of the State Corporation” Roscosmos “), replenished the orbital constellation of the Russian Global Navigation Satellite System GLONASS. Currently, the orbital constellation includes 28 spacecraft, of which 24 are used for their intended purpose, two spacecraft are in the orbital reserve, one new-generation spacecraft “Glonass-K” is undergoing flight tests. Another spacecraft has been temporarily taken out for maintenance.

Today, the basis of the orbital constellation of the system is made up of the Glonass-M spacecraft, which demonstrate high reliability.  Replacing the orbital constellation with Glonass-K spacecraft will ensure the stable operation of the Russian navigation system and increase the accuracy of its navigation definitions up to tens of centimeters.

Spacecraft “Glonass-K” are designed in a leaky design, have a guaranteed lifetime in orbit increased to 10 years, reduced power consumption, and significantly less weight. Unlike its predecessors, “Glonass-K” carry two types of navigation signals – frequency division and code division. In addition to their main functions, they will transmit information to the COSPAS-SARSAT international search and rescue system in distress .